Bonita Couple Admit Lack of Money Laundering Controls
Assistant U. S. Attorney Robert Ciaffa (619) 546-7748
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – May 17, 2016
SAN DIEGO – Bonita residents Angelica Padilla and her husband, Valente Marquez, pleaded guilty in federal court today, admitting that they failed to establish and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program in connection with their money transmitting businesses. The guilty pleas were heard before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford.
Under U.S. law, any business which provides check cashing, currency exchange, or money transmitting or remittance services, or any person who engages as a business in the transmission of funds, must register with the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). In addition, any such business must establish and maintain an anti-money laundering program including the development of internal policies, procedures and controls.
According to the plea agreements, Padilla and Marquez owned and operated money transmitting businesses in Bonita, through which they accepted and transmitted large amounts of U.S. currency. Although Padilla and Marquez registered their businesses with FinCEN, they admitted that they lied to financial institutions about the true nature of their operations.
Specifically, Padilla operated money transmitting businesses under the names “Giros Express” and “Liberty Metals and Coins,” while Marquez operated a money transmitting business under the name “Cuva.” Both falsely claimed that they were in the business of buying and selling precious metals. All three businesses operated from an office at 4045 Bonita Road.
As part of their plea agreements, Padilla and Marquez agreed to cease operating as money transmitters and to relinquish their licenses. In addition, both agreed to forfeit $400,000.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said, “Those who choose to operate a money transmitting business under U.S. law must fully comply with all federal regulations governing their operations, and will be held to the highest standards to ensure that criminal proceeds do not filter into the financial system.”
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on August 8, 2016 at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant.
DEFENDANTS Case Number 16cr1075
Angelica Padilla Age: 39 Bonita, CA
Valente Marquez Age: 41 Bonita, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Failing to Maintain Effective Anti-Money Laundering Program – Title 31, U.S.C., Section 5318(h)
Maximum penalty: 10 years’ imprisonment and $500,000 fine
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations